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How an SEO Fixed a Weird Crawled Currently Not Indexed Issue via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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A technical SEO published a case study of how he solved a curious Crawled Currently Not Indexed problem on his site. While the solution he found might not be universal to others experiencing this problem, his method for identifying the problem and solving it presents a useful walkthrough for solving technical SEO problems.

What happened to his site indexing was really weird. But his solution was straightforward and makes sense.

I discovered a description of this problem on a tweet by Adam Gent (@Adoubleagent)

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Crawled – Currently Not Indexed

There are many anecdotal reports of Crawled Currently Not Indexed on Facebook, Twitter and even in John Mueller’s Office-hours hangouts.

In a recent Office-hours hangout someone asked why Google Search Console (GSC) was showing Crawled Not Indexed but when you click through they turn out to be indexed. John Mueller answered that it’s just a lag between reports.

And in another Office-hours hangout John Mueller pointed out that it’s entirely normal for a site to have many page not be indexed.

He noted:

“…if you have a smaller site and you’re seeing a significant part of your pages are not being indexed, then I would take a step back and try to reconsider the overall quality of the website and not focus so much on technical issues for those pages.

The other thing to keep in mind with regards to indexing, is it’s completely normal that we don’t index everything off of the website.

And over time, when you get to like 200 pages on your website and we index 180 of them, then that percentage gets a little bit smaller.”

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While both of those are good reasons to explain why the Crawled Not Indexed issue is happening to some people, that is not the reason Adam Gent discovered.

Adam Gent discovered an entirely different problem that appeared to be an algorithm issue at Google itself. There was nothing wrong with the site itself, the problem was with Google’s indexing.

Why Crawled – Currently Not Indexed

Adam reviewed the GSC Index Coverage report and discovered that Google was crawling and indexing his feeds as if they were HTML pages.

He took random words from those pages and did a site: search with those words and discovered that the feed page content was indeed indexed.

To make matters worse, Google had apparently canonicalized the content on the RSS feed over the actual web page, accounting for why the real web pages were crawled but not indexed.

The RSS feed Was Generated by WordPress

An odd thing about this case is that when you look at the feed page it renders like a web page and not how an XML file usually renders.

Screenshot of Cache of RSS Feed

Screenshot of a cached RSS page

Screenshot of a cached RSS page

I might be wrong but that doesn’t look like a normal RSS feed. It looks like an HTML page.

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Although the underlying code really is XML that’s not  how most feeds normally look.

Could that have played a role in why Google chose to canonicalize the feed?

It’s hard to understand how that could happen because there are so many signals like internal linking that under usual circumstances would cause Google to favor the HTML pages as canonical.

How Adam Fixed the Problem

After Adam figured out what happened he removed those WordPress generated feed pages, submitted the feed URLs for a crawl and then 404’d the pages.

After those pages were dropped from the index he next submitted the correct URLs to Google and within a few days the problem was fixed.

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What Caused the Problem?

Adam wrote that the problem appears to be on Google’s side.

I asked around and someone told me that apparently a few years ago Google started indexing feeds but that he thought this problem had been fixed.

I’m not an expert on XML but it seems unusual that the feed resembles an HTML page instead of the normal XML layout that shows up without HTML styling.

The feed doesn’t look normal so it seems like that whatever is making it look like that might be an underlying cause.

Regardless, if you’re having Crawled Currently Not Indexed problems, this is one more thing to check in case it’s also happening to you.

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Citation

Read the original post that walks through solving the problem:

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A Curious Case of Canonicalization

Searchenginejournal.com

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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